Personal and Public Barriers in Responding to Climate Change

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 1:28 AM GMT on March 14, 2013

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Personal and Public Barriers in Responding to Climate Change

I want to continue on the subject of barriers to the use of information about climate change. In last week’s entry, I wrote about barriers like engineering standards and permitting processes that have not evolved to the point that they are flexible enough to take a changing climate into account. I ended with language barriers and how the political and emotional responses to climate-change knowledge influence language. For example, perhaps it is impossible to talk to city politicians about adaptation to climate change but possible to talk about vulnerability of their seashore to the increasing storm surges of the past 20 years. There is an aspect to the language barriers that is purely political. This charging of language with political purpose happens in any contentious process where there are advocates of different points of view.

I want to leave those political barriers in the realm of hopeless irrationality and explore more general barriers. There has been an enormous amount of effort to communicate about the science of climate change and global warming. I have argued before that polling data suggest that as a community we have actually done quite well in this communication path. A large majority of Americans think that global warming is real and concerning. Recent polling data suggest that a growing number of people are alarmed about climate change (Six Americas in September 2012). Yet there remains the general perception that, as a whole, we are not doing anything. One response to this is to communicate more, to educate more, with the idea that in a participatory democracy such as ours, the ultimate solution comes from the public’s demanding a policy response.

This experience suggests that there must be barriers to the public response of this knowledge of climate change. Often in environmental problems, people identify cost and inconvenience as barriers – think about recycling. In some instances, we try to reduce these barriers through policy to offset the cost or to improve convenience. A couple of years ago, for example, there were many programs of reduced cost or free distribution of compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs use less energy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping slow climate change (EPA on compact fluorescents). This is a typical approach that focuses on personal behavior, using essentially marketing techniques. Such approaches can be effective, but generally in a piecemeal way (Meeting Environmental Challenges).

In 2009, a group of my students looked into more systematic ways to instill the use of climate-change knowledge in day-to-day life. Their particular focus was on sustainable communities. They did a lot of analysis of energy and water use, house design, and transportation and then developed guidelines. But one of the ideas that they had in that document was the use of community associations and civic organizations to both promote and provide incentives to take behavior normally associated with individuals and to extend that behavior to communities. There were also ideas to extend across communities through, for example, competitive marketing techniques. One goal of such a strategy is to help reduce the reluctance that individuals might have to taking action in the absence of their neighbors, their social network.

An important finding from this work on building sustainable communities is that knowledge, even in combination with a receptive attitude towards sustainability, is not a strong predictor of whether or not individuals will alter their behavior to take action. Perhaps one could conclude that there is just too much anchoring in our old behavior to change. I know that I will drive by the ATM that takes deposits 10 times, thinking that the branch office has to be open to make a deposit. Perhaps reluctance to act is a matter of cost and convenience; yet in polls of those people with the positive sustainability attitude, they’re willing to pay more and be inconvenienced. These real barriers, small and large, in total retard our response to climate change.

Returning to the beginning and to the idea that communicating and educating more completely will motivate action. Though necessary, this is not sufficient. What is obvious is that there is a convergence of items that motivate any individual to take action. This is formalized in a paper by Hines and others in 1987 entitled Analysis and Synthesis of Research on Responsible Environmental Behavior. In this work, they pose that, in addition to knowledge, there is a need for information about what to do with that knowledge and training on the skills of how to use that knowledge. They state specifically, “The erroneous assumption is often made that skills evolve naturally from knowledge.” These knowledge and skill bases then need to come together with personality factors, including attitude and perhaps situational factors that become motivators for action.

Though this work does not suggest that there is an easy formula for breaking down these barriers, it does suggest training on what to do with the knowledge and the skills on how to do it are as important as the knowledge itself. With an accompanying structure of practice, there is an increased probability that people will take action, which should then beget more action.



Figure 1: Model of Responsible Environmental Behavior – Adapted from Hines and others in 1987 entitled Analysis and Synthesis of Research on Responsible Environmental Behavior. An individual who expresses an intention to take action will be more likely to engage in the action than will an individual who expresses no such intention. However, it appears that intention to act is merely an artifact of a number of other factors acting in combination. Before an individual can intentionally act on a particular environmental problem, that individual must be cognizant of the existence of the problem; this is prerequisite to action. However, an individual must also possess knowledge of those courses of action that are available and will be most effective in a given situation.


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THIS, is very interesting...

Solar power cheaper than coal: One company says it’s cracked the code

V3 solar animation





Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2580
Was it Spathy who said;
Quit pushing the thread, and dangle a reward????

Fiddling on the roof: Can $10 million in prize money spark a solar revolution?
By David Richardson

Want to know the real reason that rooftop solar panels haven’t spread across the United States yet? Slap a few panels on your roof some night and wait for the local code enforcer to notice them. Then count the citations as they roll in.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, we’ve got the technology to power our lights with solar, but the red tape gets in the way. Regulatory hoops are holding up solar progress, says the agency (which is somewhat famous for its regulatory hoops), and making rooftop solar twice as expensive as it should be.

Now, to get us over the hump on solar power, DOE is offering a total of $10 million in prize money to the first teams of Americans that can figure out how to cut through the red tape and make solar installation cheaper on a sustainable basis. It might be the first time the government has offered such a fabulous reward for finding a way to get around the government.

there's more there......
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2580
You want a solution or the same ole rhetoric????
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
What you think Dr. Rood would you like to talk about my idea with me VIA phone?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting allahgore:


Did nea contact you about building a website?


Nope..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Remember Dr. Rood is a professor at U Michigan and leads a course on climate change problem "SOLVING". Lets hear how these other solutions SOLVE the problem of climate change... I'll be one of the judges,you can be a judge also.. Let's debate..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
...
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5952
Quoting allahgore:


Have you tried calling Dr Rood?


I think I got a recording once...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Remember Dr. Rood is a professor at U Michigan and leads a course on climate change problem "SOLVING". Lets hear how these other solutions SOLVE the problem of climate change... I'll be one of the judges,you can be a judge also.. Let's debate..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
I want to hear other solutions and compare them to mine? I bet mine is better than yours..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting allahgore:


ok thanks. Do you know if they have a region forecast? if they project a global temp rise of 6 degree what is the upper limit a region might see? 10-20 degree range?


That I don't know. The forecast temperature increases are actually a range and the midpoint is used for the projected number. For example, here in the IPCC's 2007 report, Link you can see they state a likely range, and then use the midpoint for a best guess. I know there is a website where you can see current trends in temperature and sea level, but I can't seem to locate it right now and am a bit under the weather. I'll will try and dig that up for you tomorrow.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Quoting NeapolitanFan:


Don't really care what you think, but it's obvious that the poster to whom I replied didn't bother to read the article. Later in the article, after the part he mentioned, NOAA had a graph for the increase in participation for the last century, which equated to approximately 6" for the entire US. Therefore, the 6.5" per decade could be extrapolated to just about that much per century. The debunking of my posts? Most of the time, nothing more happens here than attacking the author or the website. Obviously you don't bother to read the links either. With your mindset, any response to my posts, whether accurate or not (usually not) would be considered debunking. I think the last fifty believers in AGW exist/live for this blog. It hasn't gotten warmer in two decades, but the sky is still falling.

See? That's funny!

You shouldn't get your news from The Onion or your climatology from WUWT. But both are good for a laugh every now and again.
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Quoting allahgore:


can you provide an answer to post 535? seems like lincoln cherry picks what questions to answer.


I'll try. The rates of projected increase in temperature and sea level rise are global forecasts. It could very well mean that your area in particular does not see sea level or temperature rise at the rate predicted, it could be faster or slower.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
DMI Arctic Air Temperature Graph

Looks like a heatwave in the high Arctic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
"Almost"? ;-)


I thought it was a fine joke. :)
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Quoting Naga5000:


It's funny how you can respond to this remark, but never to the debunking of your posts...it's almost as if you have no idea what you are talking about.
"Almost"? ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13579
Quoting NeapolitanFan:


Don't really care what you think, but it's obvious that the poster to whom I replied didn't bother to read the article. Later in the article, after the part he mentioned, NOAA had a graph for the increase in participation for the last century, which equated to approximately 6" for the entire US. Therefore, the 6.5" per decade could be extrapolated to just about that much per century. The debunking of my posts? Most of the time, nothing more happens here than attacking the author or the website. Obviously you don't bother to read the links either. With your mindset, any response to my posts, whether accurate or not (usually not) would be considered debunking. I think the last fifty believers in AGW exist/live for this blog. It hasn't gotten warmer in two decades, but the sky is still falling.


That's funny, because I have personally pointed out the bad statistics used multiple times on your posts. If you actually knew something about the topic you are posting about, it would be quite obvious to you as well. Instead you do nothing but ignore it, so I think you are little more than a sad, duped individual.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Quoting NeapolitanFan:
NOAA's climate data for the US leaves a little to be desired. Publicly, they claim that the US is under a "drought watch," but their own data show that precipitation in the US is increasing 6.5" per century. Too bad that's wrong. Their data showing temperature change (that hasn't been updated for seven years) is also incorrect:

Link

You mustn't take seriously anything that that website says. It is a satire website. It's very humorous! Sorta like The Onion, but only for climate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Naga5000:


It's funny how you can respond to this remark, but never to the debunking of your posts...it's almost as if you have no idea what you are talking about.


Don't really care what you think, but it's obvious that the poster to whom I replied didn't bother to read the article. Later in the article, after the part he mentioned, NOAA had a graph for the increase in participation for the last century, which equated to approximately 6" for the entire US. Therefore, the 6.5" per decade could be extrapolated to just about that much per century. The debunking of my posts? Most of the time, nothing more happens here than attacking the author or the website. Obviously you don't bother to read the links either. With your mindset, any response to my posts, whether accurate or not (usually not) would be considered debunking. I think the last fifty believers in AGW exist/live for this blog. It hasn't gotten warmer in two decades, but the sky is still falling.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NeapolitanFan:


Sort of like the climate predictions by the "experts"?


It's funny how you can respond to this remark, but never to the debunking of your posts...it's almost as if you have no idea what you are talking about.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Quoting JohnLonergan:
The first bad assumption by Napoleanfan is that anything found at WTFUWT has any scientific validity whatsoever. Second , the only two climate papers that Loehle has published were in Energy and Environment and have been thoroughly debunked.

Desmogblog has more on Loehle E&E.


Sort of like the climate predictions by the "experts"?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Texas water board still won’t acknowledge climate change as state faces dire drought in 2013

RawStory.com

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Two top environmental officials in the state of Texas told Raw Story this week that not only is the state ill-prepared to face a summer this year even hotter than the record-breaking drought of 2011, it has largely neglected to begin planning for the unprecedented drought conditions forecast for the next several decades by the U.S. government’s 2013 National Climate Assessment.

The situation is so dire that if fundamental changes are not made to how water is conserved in Texas, the clashing trends of climate change and population growth threaten to utterly strangle the Texas economy over the coming 20-30 years as water costs soar, and activists warn that Gov. Rick Perry (R) is doing nothing but making the problem worse.

Alyssa Burgin, executive director of the Texas Drought Project, told Raw Story. “There are many people whose jobs are on the line when it comes to talking about climate change. A mention of it did appear in the most recent state water plan, but any discussion given to it was rudimentary and symbolic, as if they didn’t wish to be accused of being ignorant as scientists…

Most of our reservoirs are already in dire need and we’ve not even begun the really hot months. Taken together, it’s going to look like the dust bowl of Oklahoma.”

Reacting to a prediction by the state’s climatologist that 2013 is likely to be the hottest year on record, Robert Mace, deputy executive administrator of Texas Water Development Board and a key figure in the state’s water conservation efforts, said that the most immediate effect of the anticipated water shortages will be rising rates.

The state’s top environmental regulator, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), refused to comment on this article, telling Raw Story they have no opinion on climate change and insisting that “causes of the drought” are not within their purview. The same agency unilaterally deleted all mentions of climate change from a 2011 scientific report on the health of the Galveston Bay estuary, and ultimately sought a Texas Attorney General’s ruling in order to deny Raw Story’s information request for the names of the individuals involved in the censorship.
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Quoting Naga5000:


So many bad assumptions are made here. You know what happens when you assume, right? I'll just start with the first horrible mistake of math. A decadal trend of .65 inches cannot just be multiplied by 10 to get 6.5 inches over a century. Math no work like that.
The first bad assumption by Napoleanfan is that anything found at WTFUWT has any scientific validity whatsoever. Second , the only two climate papers that Loehle has published were in Energy and Environment and have been thoroughly debunked.

Desmogblog has more on Loehle E&E.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Naga5000:


So many bad assumptions are made here. You know what happens when you assume, right? I'll just start with the first horrible mistake of math. A decadal trend of .65 inches cannot just be multiplied by 10 to get 6.5 inches over a century. Math no work like that.

Exactly. Although a 0.65in/decade rate also equates to a 6.5in/century rate, that does not mean that your rain totals will go up 6.5in in a century.

Same with rainfall rates. We can have areas experiencing 1-2in/hr rain rates not get 1" of rainfall.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3216
Quoting ScottLincoln:

You could instead use this site, which allows you to create graphs yourself or even download the raw data. It includes data through 2012.
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/us

Dr. Loehle seems to be having an issue understanding that yes, you can have an increase in drought conditions and an increasing trend in rainfall. If rainfall starts coming down in extreme events more often than gradual events, the dry periods between rainfall will increase in length and severity.


Not to mention that drought also reflects many other factors and not just precipitation.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Quoting NeapolitanFan:
NOAA's climate data for the US leaves a little to be desired. Publicly, they claim that the US is under a "drought watch," but their own data show that precipitation in the US is increasing 6.5" per century. Too bad that's wrong. Their data showing temperature change (that hasn't been updated for seven years) is also incorrect:

Link

You could instead use this site, which allows you to create graphs yourself or even download the raw data. It includes data through 2012.
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/us

Dr. Loehle seems to be having an issue understanding that yes, you can have an increase in drought conditions and an increasing trend in rainfall. If rainfall starts coming down in extreme events more often than gradual events, the dry periods between rainfall will increase in length and severity.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3216
Quoting NeapolitanFan:
NOAA's climate data for the US leaves a little to be desired. Publicly, they claim that the US is under a "drought watch," but their own data show that precipitation in the US is increasing 6.5" per century. Too bad that's wrong. Their data showing temperature change (that hasn't been updated for seven years) is also incorrect:

Link


So many bad assumptions are made here. You know what happens when you assume, right? I'll just start with the first horrible mistake of math. A decadal trend of .65 inches cannot just be multiplied by 10 to get 6.5 inches over a century. Math no work like that.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Here is something especially for this blog:

Megavolcanoes Tied to Pre-Dinosaur Mass Extinction: Apparent Sudden Climate Shift Could Have Analog Today

Mar. 21, 2013 — Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth's species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic volcanic eruptions. The eruptions may have caused climate changes so sudden that many creatures were unable to adapt -- possibly on a pace similar to that of human-influenced climate warming today. The extinction opened the way for dinosaurs to evolve and dominate the planet for the next 135 million years, before they, too, were wiped out in a later planetary cataclysm.

Read the whole article on Science Daily
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NOAA's climate data for the US leaves a little to be desired. Publicly, they claim that the US is under a "drought watch," but their own data show that precipitation in the US is increasing 6.5" per century. Too bad that's wrong. Their data showing temperature change (that hasn't been updated for seven years) is also incorrect:

Link
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Quoting RevElvis:
Does Irrationality Doom America?,

Yes. Yes, it does.
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Quoting iceagecoming:
More snow as March set to be coldest since1969

Thursday 21 March 2013, 15:36

Paul Hudson



If the forecast for the rest of March is broadly correct, taking into consideration expected temperature levels, based on the Central England Temperature (CET) measure, March is likely to end up the coldest since 1969, and one of the coldest on record.

AGW is playing havoc with the weather, isn't it?

Thanks for bringing another example to our attention. Your service in documenting these events is very much appreciated.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Does Irrationality Doom America?

How rational problem-solving has ceased to be "serious" among US elites.

AlterNet.com

This comes at a time when there's actually a staggering need to vastly expand the scope of government action to deal with multiple looming threats of environmental catastrophe - not to mention previously intolerable levels of unemployment, and a crumbling infrastructure. Climate change is just the most prominent of such environmental threats - not just to the United States, but to the continued existence of advanced industrial civilisation as a whole - which the US can't even begin to rationally grapple with as long as anti-government ideology blocks even the most common sense actions on well-understood problems. A super-power whose highways are cracking and bridges are falling down, and which then responds by slashing spending cannot be long for this world. If it staggers on for a few more decades, that's nothing compared to the centuries that the Roman Empire endured, much less the millenia of dynastic Egypt's glory.
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From Link TV - ISSUE: Fracking

Fracking Hell: The Untold Story

An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK's Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?

Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.

Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.

Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells -- waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium -- is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York's Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out.
New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.

With a gas production boom underway in the Marcellus Shale and plans for some 400,000 wells in the coming decades, the cumulative impact of dumping potential lethal waste without adequate oversight is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And now US companies are exporting fracking to Europe.



Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
The cost
of green
Green energy isn’t just a moral imperative, politicians say. It creates jobs. But how much do Oregon’s green energy subsidies really cost? And what do we get for our money?
Reporters Ted Sickinger and Harry Esteve have examined those questions over the last several months, plowing through records, interviewing experts in government and business, and analyzing what they found. This series builds on their earlier reporting the past two years.
Day 1: The world’s largest wind farm gets $1.2 billion in subsidies and will generate 35 jobs.
Day 2: No one can say how many jobs Oregon’s energy tax credits have created.
Day 3: Bipartisan support makes rollbacks of the subsidies unlikely.


Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1078
Quoting iceagecoming:


blah blah IMF blah blah


Well the articles you posted are from 1990 and 1998 respectively and have nothing to do with climate change. Recently, the IMF has admitted their error in pushing supply side austerity and has come to the realization that Keynesian stimulus is the better solution. Once again, you provide a very elementary view of economics on a world scale.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3543
Quoting greentortuloni:


Yep, our icebox has a hole in it. Check out what that weateher pattern you mentioned is doing to the Arctic ice. It is melting and the lack of cold ice is allowing weather patterns to suck needed cold out of the Arctic to the south where it is unseasonal.

Wait until the icebox is much hotter than it is now. Where will we get our cold drinks from? The summer BBQ is not only ON but we are the meat being roasted.

I hope your shill money buys you a well insulated house with a self sufficient power supply. Otherwise you are in the same boat (literally) with the rest of us.


No worries GreenT, send your check to the IMF and they'll front it to a poor country dujour, it will improve their economy via the same fossil fuels you oppose. Good luck with that.


The International Monetary Fund: Pouring More Good Money After Bad
Doug Bandow

Michael Cam-dessus, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), wants to help the world's poor. How? By doubling his organization's resources. At the annual World Bank-IMF meeting last fall he declared that hiking the IMF's capital from $120 billion to $240 billion would be "the cheapest way for taxpayers in the richer countries to come to the aid of the poor." If the U.S. and other member countries were stingy and refused to go along with such a big increase, he warned, the IMF would have to borrow money to meet its needs and "that would be a pity."

For more than four decades the international bureaucrats at the World Bank and the IMF have been proclaiming their commitment to international growth and development. Yet the result of their lending is massive impoverishment and indebtedness around the globe. The money of Western taxpayers has gone to fatten the bank accounts of foreign rulers, pacify local interest groups, expand bloated bureaucracies, and underwrite projects whose only purpose is to inflate national egos. Even what were once thought to be the best of loan programs -- roads, factories, and docks -- are deteriorating and bleeding poor nations dry.

Link


AND:

Reining in the IMF
by Marijke Torfs
Multinational Monitor magazine, January / February 1998


After decades of operating in relative obscurity, the IMF is taking center stage of public debate in the United States and throughout the world. Frantically running to the rescue of the recently beleaguered Asian economies, the IMF is throwing around unprecedented amounts of public money, bailing out rich country banks and imposing its traditional austerity programs upon 350 million people in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea.
Coming on the heels of the Mexican bailout of 1995, the IMF's central role in the Asian financial drama represents a substantial expansion of the Fund's mandate and power. Originally conceived as an entity to provide temporary financing assistance to Western countries having trouble sticking to the fixed exchange rates of the post-World War II era (currencies then had a set value relative to the U.S. dollar, which was redeemable for a set amount of gold), the IMF redefined itself in the 1970s. It began providing short-term balance of payment assistance (aid when money is flowing out of a country at unsustainable rates compared to the incoming rate) to developing countries, in exchange for their imposition of strict "structural adjustment"-budgetary and monetary programs of austerity, combined with economic deregulation. Now the Fund is carving for itself an additional role as guarantor of the private international financial system, a de facto insurer of loans and foreign investment to industrializing countries. The insurance comes free for lenders, but the traditional high payment of austerity measures is exacted from debtor countries having trouble repaying loans.
To fill this new function, the IMF needs more resources. During its last annual meeting, the IMF's board of governors agreed upon a 45 percent quota increase, adding $90 billion to its $200 billion budget. The U.S. share of the $90 billion is $14.5 billion.
But even as the IMF and its U.S. allies misleadingly claim that the Asian crisis makes it urgent that the Fund quickly receive an infusion of new capital, U.S. lawmakers are raising serious questions about the IMF's lack of clear purpose, its counterproductive adjustment programs, its penchant for bailing out big international banks and its excessive secrecy. (The urgency claim is misleading because the IMF already has allocated monies to Asia from existing resources, because the IMF has plenty of capital on hand and can raise more, and because the money from quota increases would go for purposes other than financial bailouts.
The increasing volume of criticism from Congress, the mainstream media and establishment economists follows almost two decades of condemnation of IMF austerity from labor organizations, environmentalists, poverty groups, church organizations and sustainable development advocates, as well as more recent criticism from right-wing groups which denounce financial bailouts as an improper interference in the market economy. Rising criticism of the IMF is leading some IMF backers to offer to "condition', U.S. money for the Fund, and some opponents seem satisfied that :conditions can satisfactorily reform the IMF. There is a decade of experience that suggests otherwise, however.

Muted voices, Neglected vote
Since 1989, Congressional approval of funding for the IMF has been linked to legislative language requiring the U.S. executive director to the IMF to use "voice and vote" in order to promote specific policy and procedural changes at the institution. In 1989, the Congress urged the U.S. executive director to promote: 1) the addition to the Fund's staff of natural resource experts and development economists trained in analyzing the linkages between macroeconomic conditions and the short- and long-term impacts on sustainable management of natural resources; 2) the establishment of a systematic process to review in advance, and take into account in policy formation, projected impacts of each IMF lending agreement on the long-term sustainable management of natural resources, the environment, public health and poverty; and 3) the creation of criteria to consider concessional and favorable lending terms to promote sustainable management of natural resources. This last requirement specifically refers to the reduction of the debt burden of developing countries in recognition of domestic investments in conservation and environmental management.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed even more comprehensive legislation demanding the U.S. executive director regularly and vigorously in program discussions and quota increase negotiations promote the following:
* Programs to alleviate poverty and reduce barriers to economic and social progress, and to incorporate environmentally sound policies into Fund-promoted government programs;
* Policy audits;
* Policy options that increase the productive participation of the poor; and
* Procedures for public access to information.
In order to prevent any ambiguity about the interpretation of these overall objectives, the 1992 legislation provides a detailed list of specific policy recommendations. Among the policy changes were:
* All IMF programs should consider poverty alleviation and the reduction of barriers to economic and social progress;
* All Policy Framework Papers (PFPs) should articulate the principal poverty, economic, and social measures that borrowing nations need to address;
* The IMF should incorporate environmental considerations in all of its programs;
* The IMF should encourage nations to implement systems of natural resource accounting in their national income accounts;
* The IMF should assist and cooperate fully with the statistical research being undertaken by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN in order to facilitate development and adoption of a generally applicable system for taking account of the depletion or degradation of natural resources in national income accounts;
* The IMF should conduct periodic audits of all its programs, on a country-by-country basis, to determine whether the IMF's objectives were met and to evaluate social and environmental impacts; and
* PFPs and the supporting documents prepared by the IMF's mission to a country, among other documents, should be made public at an appropriate time and in appropriate ways.
While both laws were very specific in their policy recommendations and reporting requirements, this important congressional action did not lead to any real changes of IMF operations or policies. The only noticeable shift was reflected in the IMF's managing director's rhetoric, emphasizing the importance of achieving high quality growth without hurting people or the environment in all IMF programs. The IMF also changed the job description of one of its senior economists, Ved Ghandi, to include environmental issues.
Having an environmental expert at the Fund did not benefit the environment in any discernible way, either. In fact, Ghandi's main tasks seem to focus on writing papers explaining why the IMF should not be concerned about or engaged in environmental issues. After two years of analysis, Gandhi concluded that macroeconomic stability would lead to environmental stability but that sustainable environmental management was not critical for macroeconomic stability. In other words, in a well-managed economy, the environment will take care of itself; and taking care of the environment is irrelevant to economic well-being. While Gandhi has shifted from this position, the IMF continues to support the notion that microeconomic policies, such as environmental resource management policies, do not affect the macroeconomic outlook of a country.
Two years later, the experience was replicated in the area of labor rights. In 1994, the U.S. Congress attached the Sanders-Frank Amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriation Bill, requiring U.S. executive directors to use voice and vote to urge international financial institutions, including the IMF, to:
* Adopt policies to encourage borrowing countries to guarantee internationally recognized worker rights;
* Promote compliance with key International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, including those guaranteeing the right of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, prohibitions against forced labor, a minimum wage, maximum hours of work and occupational safety and health protections; and
* Establish formal procedures to screen projects and programs funded by the institutions for any negative impacts on key labor rights.
The Treasury Department was supposed to report on its progress in promoting these reforms at the international financial institutions after one year. It took almost three years for the Treasury to send its report to the Congress. Instead of explaining why the U.S. executive directors had failed to promote any of the legislative requirements, the report offered ideas on how to begin the process of implementing the Sanders-Frank amendment. For example, the report provided an outline of what a possible screening process could look like. It also cited general steps the international financial institutions have undertaken to reform labor markets as evidence of efforts to guarantee internationally recognized labor rights.
It is hard to imagine a more cynical response from the Treasury Department. "Not all labor market reforms have to do with improved labor rights," notes Terry Collingsworth, general counsel of the Washington, D.C.-based International Labor Rights Fund. "Instead, many of these reforms contribute to the denial of labor rights."
Collingsworth summarizes the report as "lacking in any real, substantive action or assessment that address the express requirements of the law."

Money Talks
Something fundamentally different took place in 1994, the same year the Sanders-Frank amendment was passed, however. Frustrated with the lack of IMF responsiveness, the U.S. Congress cut the proposed $100 million U.S. contribution to the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) by $75 million.
In a conference report attached to the bill, members of Congress expressed their hope that the IMF and its member countries would work with the U.S. government to open up the IMF to more public scrutiny. Congress urged the U.S. Treasury Department to push for reform of the IMF's disclosure policies. Congress asked for the release of several IMF documents to the public including the Recent Economic Developments and program documents. Other IMF documents are owned by the countries themselves, and their publication depends on the willingness of the national government. But since most of these documents are prepared by IMF staff and are critical for understanding of Fund programs, the legislation required the IMF to strongly encourage governments to make these documents available to the public. These documents include: Article IV Consultations, Letters of Intent and Policy Framework Papers.
But the conference report did more than just urge these reforms. It strongly suggested that future funding for ESAF would be withheld until the IMF made the desired reforms. "To determine when and whether to recommend the remainder of the $100 million requested by the Administration for ESAF, consideration will be given to the progress made on the disclosure of the above information.
In contrast to all previous legislative efforts, the 1994 legislation did result in identifiable reforms. The IMF made the REDs publicly available and began posting summaries of the Article IV consultations on the Internet. IMF management also agreed, in 1997, to an independent review of ESAF programs to be conducted parallel to the IMF's own ESAF review. While the independent review has not yet been published, early statements of the reviewers have been critical and IMF management has promised to release an uncensored version of the reviewers' report.
The disclosure reforms have been progress, but not a panacea. While these documents provide a flavor of the nature of the program, even economists such as Jeffrey Sachs are unsatisfied with the progress. In one of the many editorials written by Sachs related to the Asia crisis, he states that the IMF is only paying lip service to "transparency." Sachs complains that the IMF provides virtually no substantive documentation of its decisions as the documents are shorn of the technical details needed for serious professional evaluation of the programs.

Curbing the cash
Many, not least those in IMF managerial positions, have criticized the legislative strategy to change the IMF. Opponents argue that the IMF is a multilateral institution which has to reflect the priorities of all of its member countries. It is not appropriate, the argument runs, to use the U.S. legislative process to open up the IMF to public scrutiny or to force it to deal with social and environmental issues.
Unfortunately, the IMF has not given the public any other choice. People in borrowing countries do not have the same opportunity to influence the Fund, and neither do their elected governments.
Meaningful public participation in shaping borrowing country programs is currently not possible. The IMF's Articles of Agreement state that IMF mission people shall only interact with representatives from finance ministries or central banks. Even if finance ministries allow public consultation, crucial details of IMF programs remain confidential. With limited knowledge of the program details, the population in borrower countries-the ones to affected by IMF-imposed policies-cannot seriously participate in policy formation. In most cases, even national parliaments have little choice but to "endorse" an IMF agreement without serious discussion, input or understanding of the programs.
The enormous leverage of the IMF over democratic institutions in borrowing countries was made plain in South Korea's presidential elections late last year, as the Fund insisted that all presidential candidates endorse the IMF bailout agreement.
In the United States, but also in a growing number of other industrialized countries, the public does have a voice in and can affect policy decisions of their governments. The United States is one of the few countries that offers public hearings on the operations of all multilateral institutions financed by the public. During these hearings, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world have testified about the devastating impact of IMF programs. At the request of U.S. members of Congress, NGOs have
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1078
Quoting Skyepony (#514):


Good video, Skyepony. I especially liked the interviewee's words about climate change at 6:40 into the clip.
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 858
Published: March. 22, 2013 at 7:16 AM

WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- A budget resolution from the House of Representatives will unlock domestic oil and gas potential, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee said.

The House of Representatives passed a short-term funding measure Thursday to keep the government running to the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. The bill funds $984 billion in spending for six months through the end of the fiscal year.

The House measure doesn't reverse the $85 billion in sequestration cuts that went into effect March 1.

The House also voted 221-207 to approve Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed budget that calls for cutting $5 trillion from future spending. Ryan last week unveiled a balanced budget proposal that would get revenue from expanded oil and natural gas exploration.

The Republican plan will unlock American energy, allowing new production on our public lands and waters and approving vital projects like the Keystone XL pipeline," House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash, said in a statement.

House Republicans accused President Barack Obama of standing in the way of U.S. energy potential. U.S. oil and gas production are at record highs.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/ 2013/03/22/GOP-Budget-plans-good-for-oil-gas/UPI-2 3901363950993/#ixzz2OGjbC4Sc

Link




Republican lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline in a meeting on Wednesday. Initial reports suggested Obama would approve the pipeline, but he did not offer a definitive answer.

The New York Times reported the president "indicated" support of the Canadian oil sands pipeline, according to statements from Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), but he "did not say outright" if his administration would approve the project's permit.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/obama-ke ystone-xl-republicans_n_2868975.html

Link



Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1078
Quoting iceagecoming:
More snow as March set to be coldest since1969

Thursday 21 March 2013, 15:36

Paul Hudson



If the forecast for the rest of March is broadly correct, taking into consideration expected temperature levels, based on the Central England Temperature (CET) measure, March is likely to end up the coldest since 1969, and one of the coldest on record.


Link





According to Senior Meteorologist John Schneider, "as high pressure over Norway builds slowly southward, much colder than normal temperatures will slide across northern Europe. The cold air will advance westward across the United Kingdom on Thursday, where temperatures will average 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit (3-5 degrees Celsius) below normal."

Schneider also expects around 3-6 inches of snow to accumulate across the Austrian Alps.




I guess the Barbeque is OFF? CO2 DONT MATTER?


Yep, our icebox has a hole in it. Check out what that weateher pattern you mentioned is doing to the Arctic ice. It is melting and the lack of cold ice is allowing weather patterns to suck needed cold out of the Arctic to the south where it is unseasonal.

Wait until the icebox is much hotter than it is now. Where will we get our cold drinks from? The summer BBQ is not only ON but we are the meat being roasted.

I hope your shill money buys you a well insulated house with a self sufficient power supply. Otherwise you are in the same boat (literally) with the rest of us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
More snow as March set to be coldest since1969

Thursday 21 March 2013, 15:36

Paul Hudson



If the forecast for the rest of March is broadly correct, taking into consideration expected temperature levels, based on the Central England Temperature (CET) measure, March is likely to end up the coldest since 1969, and one of the coldest on record.


Link





According to Senior Meteorologist John Schneider, "as high pressure over Norway builds slowly southward, much colder than normal temperatures will slide across northern Europe. The cold air will advance westward across the United Kingdom on Thursday, where temperatures will average 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit (3-5 degrees Celsius) below normal."

Schneider also expects around 3-6 inches of snow to accumulate across the Austrian Alps.




I guess the Barbeque is OFF? CO2 DONT MATTER?
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1078
516. Skyepony (Mod)
State Dept. Hid Contractor's Ties to Keystone XL Pipeline Company
A top expert who helped write the government's latest Keystone report previously consulted on three different TransCanada projects—a fact the State Department tried to hide.

Late on a Friday afternoon in early March, the State Department released a 2,000-page draft report downplaying the environmental risks of the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would ferry oil from Canada's tar sands to refineries in Texas, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. But when it released the report, State hid an important fact from the public: Experts who helped draft the report had previously worked for TransCanada, the company looking to build the Keystone pipeline, and other energy companies poised to benefit from Keystone's construction.



Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 38310
515. Skyepony (Mod)

Native leaders from both Canada and the United States were on Parliament Hill on Wednesday to underline their opposition to both the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 38310
514. Skyepony (Mod)
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 38310

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.